Asian Development Bank (June 2022) The report, part of a GIZ-ADB collaboration, reviews trends in social protection and recent pandemic responses. It discusses how artificial intelligence (AI) tools can fit into the social protection delivery chain. It reviews the functioning of the delivery chain during the pandemic to identify gaps in social protection systems along with emerging solutions that draw on digital technology. The report includes four case studies and suggests steps policymakers could take to foster an enabling environment for the use of AI in social protection.
Shocks & extreme events
brookings.edu (03.05.2022) Pension systems around the world faced a “stress test” during the pandemic—what you might call the “pension pandemic paradox.” On the one hand, there was pressure to allow access to pension savings as emergency support during a period of sharp economic downturn. This was understandable, since for many people pension savings are their biggest financial asset. But, in some countries, this turned into unprecedented access beyond immediate emergency needs and put the pension savings system at risk.
oecd.org (March 2022) This document provides an update on the use of job retention (JR) schemes during the COVID-19 crisis until the end of 2021 and takes stock of the different strategies employed by OECD governments to adjust them as the crisis evolved. It provides three key insights. First, since reaching a peak of 20% of employment in April/May 2020 on average across OECD countries, the use of JR support has declined to 1.3% in November/December 2021.
ESCWA (April 2022) Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, social protection systems in the Arab region were weak, fragmented, not inclusive, and non-transparent. They were also costly and unsustainable. Underinvestment in these systems and exclusion of vulnerable populations were key challenges. The COVID-19 crisis spotlighted the problems and presented a historic opportunity to address some of the challenges facing social protection systems. Lessons learned in various countries were identified as useful examples for change, in addition to certain innovations.
africanarguments.org (10 febrary 2022) In 2020, when the pandemic began, many governments worldwide undertook the task of channeling emergency support to their most vulnerable citizens. This task, made more difficult by the unprecedented public health restrictions implemented in various settings, was fraught with difficulties. This included ensuring that help reached those who needed it the most, and that precious resources did not go to people who did not need support.
globalcitizen.org (10.09.2021) As countries seek to contain COVID-19, a return to the way things were is not an option, according to Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. Instead, countries must guarantee basic living conditions. “We see that when social protection remains weak, the poorest pay the price,” De Schutter said. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown, an estimated 115 million additional people may have fallen into extreme poverty in 2020, and 35 million more may follow this year.
BORGEN (14.08.2021) In an attempt to protect from economic disaster in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments enacted an unprecedented number of social protection programs. According to the World Bank, Social protection “traditionally consists of labor markets, pensions, social funds and ‘safety nets’.” Although developing countries introduced 1,300+ social protection and jobs programs related to COVID-19, the International Labor Organization (ILO) “estimates 255 million full-time equivalent” job losses in 2020.
thefinancialexpress.com.bd (10.08.2021) The Government of Bangladesh has allocated 17.83 per cent of the total budget for fiscal 2021-22 for Social Safety Net Programmes (SSNPs). The coverage is diverse; it includes programmes related to poverty eradication, education, health, infrastructure, disaster management, housing for the poor, amongst many. However, if we take out pensions and honorarium for the non-poor, educational stipends, agricultural subsidies and so on, the actual social safety net allocation comes down to 50 per cent.
European Commission (06.07.2021) This review provides an up-to-date economic analysis of the steps the European Union (EU) is taking towards a strong social Europe, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis. This ESDE report shows that the social impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been uneven and diverse. Regional inequalities that already existed before the pandemic may have widened, according to the review.
odi.org (09.07.2021) Before Covid-19, many countries were engaged in the process of strengthening core social protection systems and exploring ways to develop their shock-responsive capacity. However, these system-building efforts were still nascent in many low- and middle-income countries (LICs and MICs) and even in countries with more developed systems, maintaining and extending provision in response to a shock as vast, sudden and severe as Covid-19 represented a significant operational challenge.